A Look Into the Virtual Winery World with André Proulx


We sat down with André Proulx (he’s the one sitting down in the picture), who is one of the principles of 80x Wine Company, a “virtual” winery in Niagara, to discuss what it’s like to be a virtual winery, what is a virtual winery, and about their vision for their wines and their future. Plus, what’s with that name?



Where does the name come from?



The name comes from the fact that all the partners in the company were born in the 1980’s. We’re proud to have that as part of our identity; when we founded the company in 2015, there was chatter about how Millennials are destroying the wine industry – we thought that was funny.





Why Virtual – and what is a virtual winery?


Why Virtual? That’s a good question. To be honest, when we founded the company, it wasn’t meant to exist as a long-term idea. We wanted to learn more about the industry and see how it worked. It was supposed to be a one-off learning experience. But all of us enjoy every aspect of this crazy business.


Being on the crush pad is when I think all three of us are at our happiest, and there is something satisfying about walking into a restaurant you love and having them pour your wine for other people.


We’re virtual because none of us have the financial backing to buy the five acres necessary to buy a property… but we’re working on it.


A virtual winery is a winery without a permanent home. We work with grape growers and rent out space at a winery (originally Rosewood, but Rockway has been our home since 2017). We have been fortunate to form a strong bond with the team at Rockway. From an education standpoint it has been exciting to have the opportunity to work with fruit from all over Niagara.


What wines do you make? Why did you decide on these?


We currently have a 2019 Pinot Noir for sale – Chardonnay in barrel from 2020 and 2021 – and Rosé from 2021. We make Rosé because we love drinking it. I’ve heard a few wineries in Europe say their philosophy is you make wine for the village, and then for your family; but if no one wants your wine – you have to be ready to drink it yourself.


We work with these varieties because they ripen early, and in our opinion are well suited to the soils and climate that we work with. We would love to expand the portfolio in the future to include Cabernet Franc, Gamay, or possibly Riesling.



What’s the goal for the company?


The goal for the company would be to eventually move out of our rented space and have our own estate. And obviously continue to make tasty wines.





Where do you see 80x in 10 years?


Hopefully listed in every cool restaurant in Ontario.



Where can people get your wines?


People can get our wines at the Rockway retail store (you just have to walk in and ask for it) or by contacting us at 80x.ca or eightyxwine@gmail.com.









Author: Michael Pinkus – Grape Guy



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